Capital FM (Nairobi)

30 May 2012

Kenya: Tourists Assured Country Remains Safe

The tourism sector is concerned that the recent blast in the country's capital Nairobi, will scare away tourists if investigations are not conducted ... ( Resource: Kenya: Tourism Stakeholders Security Fears

Nairobi, Kenya — The tourism sector now wants speedy investigations into Monday's explosion at Assanands House on Moi Avenue in Nairobi, to avoid speculation that may scare away tourists.

Kenya Tourist Board Managing director Muriithi Ndegwa says visitors who are intending to visit the Kenya are simply anxious to know the exact cause of the blast and the security situation in the country.

Speaking during a tourism stakeholder forum in Nairobi, Ndegwa however believes that tourism may not necessarily be affected by the attack if the situation is handled well, adding that the sector has already gone through tougher situations in the past.

"We are getting a lot of calls from the source markets, and already as we speak, we have reassured the market that all is well. Whenever there is a vacuum of information, people start speculating, and we do not want that. So as information unfolds we keep informing them what is exactly happening and the counter measures we are putting in place to ensure that Kenya is a safe destination, "said Ndegwa.

He has however criticized the Kenyan media for blowing things out of control on Monday and whenever there are similar incidences before full investigations, adding that this has caused unnecessary panic to the outsiders.

"If you look at other destinations like New York City, how many murders happen every single minute? When you look at Europe, there are so many crises especially when it comes to markets that I would not mention, where we have some terrorist attacks, "added Ndegwa.

On his part the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers CEO Mike Macharia denied allegations that the hotel sector has been trying to downplay the situation, by portraying that all is well, yet the tourist arrivals continue to fall.

"Numbers don't lie. KTB came up with the first quarter report a few weeks ago. We would not speculate without looking at the numbers and if we are getting cancellation, we will tell you they are indeed coming in. If we are not, we will give you factual information, "added Macharia.

Overall tourist arrivals in the first three months of the year declined by 0.5pc, to 312,258 compared to 313,691 in the same period last year due to insecurity.

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